ElizabethMcCauley

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Misogyny of the Beat Generation

    The writers of the Beat generation, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and several other men, have been called many things, from revolutionary to obscene, profound to self-indulgent. Though feminist backlash notes the exclusion of women from the movement and the misogynistic attitudes towards women advocated in Beat literature, many are willing to overlook this criticism and focus on the widespread influence of the Beats. This could lead into a conversation about art as art versus art as social statement, and the social responsibility of artists. Notably, the Beats are seen as opening the door for the hippie movement, which certainly espoused feminist ideologies. Perhaps, in the long run, feminism benefitted from the Beats opening the door for a counterculture. Perhaps not. But given the lasting romantic view of the Beats and the pseudo-revival they’ve experienced with recent film adaptations including Howl and Kill Your Darlings, their messages are worth scrutinizing.

    • I think a closer look at the Beats is necessary before judgment can be passed on them as Misogynists. I don't mean to imply they were not, of course. Kerouac certainly had moments where he objectified women, though I do not see this as damaging. The Lost Generation, albeit named by a woman, were certainly more misogynistic than the Beats. We should probably look at this group as moving a step closer to losing this negative attitude toward women. – damfer21 5 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    It always confuses me when people assume that the representation of a violent or immoral act equates to condoning it. Bret Easton Ellis was called a misogynist for creating a misogynist character, but he created a misogynist character that is undeniably deplorable. The only people who come close to liking him are his equally deplorable friends. Similarly, many of Martin Scorsese’s movies deal with amoral subcultures (wall street, organized crime, etc.) and show them realistically, i.e. people doing terrible things and having a good time doing it until they finally face the consequences, at which point they are generally not sorry they did it, just sorry they got caught. He approaches violence and crime with an uncomfortably realistic lens, as does Mary Harron with American Psycho.

    I liked a lot of your article. I love this film and agree with most of your ideas. However, a few critiques from a fellow writer: Be careful not to repeat yourself– some of your sentences are nearly identical. Shorten your quotes and integrate them into your own ideas rather than directly quoting several sentences. And though I agree with your thesis that the film is postmodern, your piece is missing the “so what?” component. Postmodernism is about being skeptical of culture and tradition, and there are a lot more big picture ideas you could connect this to: whether or not you think the skepticism is justified, the importance of free-thinking vs. conformity, or even how Harron uses cultural critique to legitimize the scorned slasher film genre (which you touch on, but could develop).

    Hope you don’t mind my input. Thanks for a good read!

    American Psycho: A Post Modern Horror

    In my opinion, David Fincher is the best filmmaker yet at adapting books for films– not because he includes every subplot and characters or matches every detail, but because he knows how to capture the tone of a novel. Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl are not only great stand-alone films but also largely sidestep the “I liked the book better” critique. The problem is that people who love books, and therefore can be assumed to love exercising their imaginations, will always like the books better than what someone else has visualized for them. Thus, it is futile to try and match the book exactly.

    How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?

    The questions raised here are very interesting. I especially like the second one, because I think authorial intent tends to be way overblown in terms of the true “meaning” of a text and I imagine the same is true for categorization. But in terms of answering those questions, it would be worthwhile to examine not only the production and producers of novels are but also the consumption. When I first read the headline, I was expecting a quantitative summary of declining readership of novels. Though I found this analysis interesting, does it really matter what’s being written– or what it is called– if no one is reading it?

    Is the Novel Dead?